Radio Drama: The Case of The Nervous Bicycle Rider

July 25, 2007

by Irwin Gonshak

AAA New York has partnered with Transportation Alternatives, the New York Bicycling Coalition, the NYC DOT, and other organizations in a public-education campaign to encourage drivers and cyclists to share the road safely.

I am a member of the AAA and I ride a bicycle every day in Queens– and its getting scary out there.  Drivers don’t obey the rules and it’s getting worse.  So I thought I’d do my part to help the campaign. I’d write a short-short radio drama on the subject and send it to AAA New York Car&Travel and other magazines.

I’ve written hundreds of educational radio dramas on a great variety of subjectives; from Einstein’s Theory of Relativity to Drug Abuse.  Radio drama can teach anything, and entertain as well.


INSOMNIA: The Billy Senese Radio Drama Now on iTunes

May 4, 2007

Billy talked about writing Insomnia in this blog last year. He has a new Midnight Radio Theater page on MySpace as well as a podcast on iTunes.

Click here to subscribe to podcast

Short Radio Drama Podcast on iTunes – Free Subscription

May 4, 2007

Selected radio dramas produced by Hassberry Theatre Company from the 2005 Big Apple Short Radio Drama Festival on WNYE FM 91.5.

Coming in August, brand new short radio dramas. Stay tuned.

Click image to subscribe to the radio drama podcast on iTunes. Free.

PRX Review: LA Theatre Works’s ANOTHER TIME

January 19, 2007

Review by Chris Chambers for PRX (Jan 10, 2007)

These two hour theatre plays are broadcast by many US stations. I would have no problem at all recommending them. They are of the highest quality. The problem will be slotting a two hour whole in to your programming. A Saturday or Sunday afternoon slot? Or perhaps a late evening broadcast? I would suggest that it has to be played in its entirety because, with this play anyway, there is an intensity that shouldn’t be broken. I thought I I would listen to an hour one evening and the rest the following evening because I didn’t start listening until late in to the night. Well, a stupid thought. I listened to it in one sitting.
I like enormously the concept of this. Live, in front of an audience. It gives an added depth. I felt as though I was also present which was great because, living in Amsterdam, I can so rarely go to an English speaking play. I preferred the dynamics of a live broadcast compared to most radio plays which I believe can lose so much vitality in a recording studio.

Why do I only give four stars? Certainly not for the quality of the production. However, the play itself – excellent but not Harwood’s greatest. Actually, I feel a bit churlish not giving five stars but……….


Listen to the full play here

Making Fun and Strange Sounds from Outer Space

January 15, 2007

Making Fun and Strange Sounds from Outer Space

by Irwin Gonshak for The Sound Palette (Jan. 15, 2007)

In the early 1970s, the NYC Board of Education’s radio station WNYE-FM helped to set up In Touch Networks for the blind and handicapped. We won a grant in 1976 from the NYCouncil for the Humanities to do a radio series called, “Liberation for the Handicapped.” I was the writer and producer for the series, and I wrote an essay called “Making Fun” for the press release on the program “Stereotypes” which included original comments from Neil Simon, Mel Brooks, Sam Levenson, and Maureen Nolan (handicapped Barnard College student). Here is the essay. But first one aside: I used to walk through the crowded Manhattan streets with the late James R. Jones, Executive Director of In Touch, who was completely blind. When alone, he would walk himself with just his stick to guide him. When he was with me, he’d hold my arm and say, “When I have someone to steer me, I always feel like I’m on vacation.”

Click here to download PDF version of MAKING FUN

In the late 1970s I learned that Scholastic wanted to do an audio series on listening skills for the elementary school grades. Since radio drama is my field, I felt I could easily write a simple radio drama–dealing with the skill: following a sequence of events (just a few characters with a strong story line that goes in a straight line from beginning to end). I wrote “Strange Sounds from Outer Space” which Scholastic accepted and which became the prototype for the series. Incidentally, Hamburger Heaven used to be a fast food chain in Manhattan, which I believe no longer is in business… but still lives on in my radio drama.
Click here to download PDF version of STRANGE SOUNDS FROM OUTER SPACE

Irwin Gonshak can be reached at 


December 25, 2006

from PRX

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (Radio Theatre)

producer: The Colonial Radio Theatre on the Air

PRX Description:  “The Colonial Radio Theatre on the Air has produced six of the OZ books by L. Frank Baum in elaborate radio theatre productions with lush music scores, thousands of sound effects, and a full cast. In THE WONDERFUL WIZARD OF OZ, Dorothy is carried by cyclone to the land of Oz where the exciting adventure begins.

Based on the book, and not the classic MGM motion picture, the story takes some twist and turns that might surprise listeners who never read the original novel. After 106 years since it first appeared, THE WONDERFUL WIZARD OF OZ has proven itself many times over, to be a true, timeless classic. ”

Listen to the radio drama here

“Winner of the 2000 Parents Choice Award”
“Audioworlds Golden Headset Award”

Listen: INSOMNIA and THE LONG WEEKEND (Radio Drama)

December 11, 2006

INSOMNIA (26:00 mins)

‘A radio drama set in the mind of an insomniac.’

Listen to the trailer

producer: Billy Senese

“Insomnia. The night seems endless. Your mind races with thoughts. After lying in the dark for a few hours, you begin to drift in and out of consciousness. The mind begins to play games as your thoughts bounce this way and that; memories are distorted and rationalized, reality becomes nothing more than strings of associations and tangents. Feelings of insanity slowly set in.
Sydney can not sleep due to impending test results from his doctor. Lying awake in bed, he is plagued with the seemingly endless possibilities of terrible outcomes. Emotional and distraught, he desperately searches for some semblance of meaning in his life. As his inner search deepens, he discovers that the only thing that matters is the one woman he should never have let go. ”

Listen to the full play here



THE LONG WEEKEND (24:00 mins)

‘A radio drama about love and fear – a story that starts off with a harmless dream of an affair and ends with two people running for their lives.’

Listen to the trailer

producer: Billy Senese

“A young married couple from the city, in the midst of relationship troubles, decides to spend a long weekend out in the country. They are city dwellers and are not at all used to the strangeness of the deep woods. Sleepless from the heat and mosquitoes, recent unspoken and delicate issues begin to surface. As their playful dialogue gradually deteriorates into resentment and anger, something out in the woods creeps closer to their cabin. Something unforeseen. Something terrifying.”

Listen to the full play here



Production notes of INSOMNIA and THE LONG WEEKEND by Billy Senese.

Read PRX EB Joseph Dougherty’s review of THE LONG WEEKEND